Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

Not sure why, but the last couple of weeks of comics have had good books, but nothing is absolutely brilliant. It might just mean I need to cull my list further and only get the better series and drop other books a little quicker. Of course my attitude was reaffirmed this Sunday when we did a Cosmic Comix Conversation and the rest of the panel felt the same way. That is not to say there are some terrific books out there, but I guess I looking for more books like Action Comics by Johns and Frank.

Sgt Rock: The Lost Battalion #1 (of 6) – By Billy Tucci, Color Hi-Fi. A very different type of Sgt. Rock story as it feels very real. As Billy Tucci said he was basing it on real events that should be the way it reads. This book will establish Billy Tucci as more then just a “good girl” artist of Shi. His artwork is outstanding and the attention to detail is unbelievable, plus his writing is well done. He starts us out on D-Day and gives us the best comic portrayal of a small section of that beach ever done in a comic book. He makes Sgt. Rock and the men of Easy very real and at the same time recognizable to the fans (like me) of the series from long ago. I’m ready to order the hard cover and can’t wait for the rest of the book. He is honoring the work of Kubert and Kanghier and at the same time taking Rock to a different place then he has been before.

Final Crisis Resisit #1 - Writer Greg Rucka, Art Eric Trautamn, Ryan Sook and Marco Rudy. As a story Final Crisis is coming together very well. The supporting titles are sometimes only thematically related or related only in a tangential way at best, but as there are few of them and so far all have been good stories it has not mattered. FC Submit and Resist have been directly related and this story was especially well done. The human resistance movement is down to Mr. Terrific, the Thinker, the Black King and Snapper Carr. Snapper’s teleportation abilities are their view into the outside world and it appears all is lost. A metagene virus is loose that takes out your powers if they come from a metagene. The vast majority of the world’s population is in thrall from the anti-life equation and hope is fading fast. In a series of circumstances that are both funny and very “real” feeling Snapper saves Cheetah but catches the virus and this small band is now still free but trapped. Mister Terrific essentially sacrifices the woman he loves to release the dormant OMACs left in the human population to form his resistance movement. This was an excellent chapter of Final Crisis and very well done.

Gigantic #1 (of 5) – Writer Rick Remender, Art Eric Nguyen, Colors Matthew Wilson. This was an excellent start to a giant robot story. It begins with planet Earth being created by an alien race as a set for a new TV series. We then cut to earth 5,000 years later and met a photographer and his girl friend. They go into the city so he can get photos for an assignment. As he is taking his first shot a Gigantic robot shows up out of nowhere. The rest of the issue the robot is being chased by machines that work for the alien TV network. The robot is trying to escape when he explodes and apparently takes most of San Francisco with him (maybe a wish fulfillment for some of us). We then cut to alien TV watchers who think this has been the best episode yet of Channel Earth. I was a little hesitant going in, but loved it after reading it. Rick Remender at his best and Eric Nguyen delivers a great looking book.

Kull #1 (of 6) – Writer Arvid Nelson, Art Will Conrad, Colors Jose Villarrubia. This was the best of the Robert E. Howard adaptations from Dark Horse. The new Conan is too wrapped up in the grandfather’s story and was a poor re-launch. Solomon Kane was a very good opening, but Kull was even better. The setting is immediately done after a couple of pages; we see the intrigue in Kull conquering the last hold out in his taking of an Empire. The book establishes Kull with both a fight and some behind the scenes action. After reading this book I know who Kull is and how he will react and I see some of the problems he will have to face in the rest of the series. An excellent first issue and one that makes me want to read more about Kull.

Justice Society of America #20 – Story Geoff Johns and Alex Ross, Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Dale Eaglesham, Inks Nathan Masengill, Earth-2 Sequence Pencils Jerry Ordway, Inks Bob Wiacek, Colors Hi-Fi. The Earth-2 storyline was front and center this issue as Justice Society Infinite shows up and captures Power Girl, but GL, Mr. Terrific, Flash, Starman and Stargirl follow. This story our Power Girl finally convinces the Earth-2 people that she is not their Power Girl. We find out Earth-2 has been recreated, but given their own Power Girl. Our Power Girl now has to accept Earth-Prime as her home as her world, since her world, while restored is no longer her world. Also after seeing Jade and Mr. Terrific seeing his wife, Alan Scott wonders is Magog could restore them to life, setting the stage for the conclusion of the Kingdom Come story line.

Secret Six #3 – Writer Gail Simone, Pencils Nicola Scott, Inks Doug Hazelwood, Colors Jason Wright. This is a winning new series from DC in my book. Gail Simone is at her best on this book and the interplay between the characters is fantastic. From Ragman’s creepy quips, to remarks how Bane is now no more then a Mexican wrestler, it is a terrific read. This issue we learn why everyone wants this card they were hired to find. I keep thinking how could any card be worth so much to the villain community and Gail made it work in wonderful fashion as the card is a get out of hell for free card. LOL – great premise and an excellent start to what looks like a new series from DC that has been launched perfectly.

Hellblazer Presents Chas the Knowledge #5 (of 5)- Writer Simon Oliver, Art Goran Sudzuka, Matt Hollingsworth. What a great ending for this series. Chas does not have enough faith in himself to complete the task that John has laid out for him. His platonic girl friend tells him he can do it and with his mates they successfully save Nicky and defeat the demon. Chas reconciles with his wife and she recognizes that she may have ignored him. The sad part was Chas breaking up with his platonic girl friend after she subtly offered to be more. Chas manages to save the day, be honorable to his vows and gets to here John at the end tell Chas he was right about something. All in all this was one hell of an adventure for Chas. I could enjoy another mini-series on Chas, but not an ongoing at this point.

Back to Brooklyn #2 (of 5) – Writers Garth Ennis & Jimmy Palmiotti, Art Mihailo Vukelic. This is the second chapter in this Italian Mob story. This issue Bob is trying to put together a plan before he tries to free his wife and children. Bob is using the few friends he has left, but is trying to keep them out of harm’s way. At the same time Bob’s brother Paul (who is holding his family) has hired a hit man to take down Bob. Blood and guts and a hard as nails action/adventure about two brother’s who were part of the mob, now fighting each other. Next issue we are supposed to find out what turned Bob against the mob. The art style is still a little off-putting but the writing is very well done.

Thor #11 – Writer J. Michael Straczynski, Oliver Copiel, Inks Mark Morales, Danny Miki & Andy Lanning, Colors Laura Martin & Paul Mounts. This was another solid issue in what has been a great run on this book. While Thor is Don Blake and reconnecting with Jane Foster Asgard is being ruled by Balder. Loki is her deceiving self by being the constant buzz in Balder’s ear about how things are not right in Asgard under Thor’s rule. She works so well because she uses half-truths as opposed to actual lies to sow discontent. Also with this issue was a nice little tribute by Thor to Captain America. It makes sense that this is something that would be on Thor’s mind given how long they fought together. The addition of that segment did add to what is becoming a negative for Thor and that is pacing. With the addition of the Captain America tribute and the long lag time between issues the story feels like it has slowed down more then it actually has.

House of Mystery #7 – Writer Matthew Sturges, Pencils Luca Rossi, Inks Jose Marzan Jr., Colors Lee Loughridge. Middle Story: Writer Bill Willingham, Art David Petersen. This is a very good series, but the main story has my interest and the additional stories that are put in the middle are interesting and entertaining but the pace of the main story is too slow. This issue Fig, Harry and Ann go into the basement and find some stuff including the clothing of a girl named Miranda. Some eviscerated little creature is found and Fig goes to help and the dying creature is saying muh-run-duh. So apparently something happened to Miranda down here, but this is two or three issues into this story line and we are just getting going. The middle story by Willingham and David (Mouse Guard) Petersen was nice, but it is slowing the main story down. I understand that eliminating those stories is a break from the formula, but either make them as background stories like the last issue or eliminate the middle story every third issue or so, as ultimately we are buying the book for Fig, Harry and Ann.

Storming Paradise #4 (of 6) – Writer Chuck Dixon, Pencils Butch Guice (1-14), Inks Eduardo Barreto, Pencils/Inks Fernando Blanco (15-22), Colors Carrie Strachan. Another good issue, but the art fell down as Butch Guice only penciled 14 pages of the book and they looked looser then before. Still it was fascinating reading this alternative history and to see that the Japanese are now trying to build an atom bomb with help from the Germans. Their hope is to deliver a devastating blow to the US forces so they can get a negotiated peace. Little cameos by John Wayne as a soldier and Patton leading a tank division were also welcome.

Guerillas #2 (of 9) – By Brahm Revel. This issue we find out the Chimp Patrol group is apparently an experiment that got away. A small group of men and a “mad” scientist type are sent out to bring them back. The scientist also has a super enhanced Baboon with him. The young soldier that was saved by the Chimp Patrol has sort of been adopted by them as he helps by lighting their cigarettes. This is a surreal tale of the Viet Nam war, done very well.

Top 10 Season Two #2 (of 4) – Writer & Layouts Zander Cannon with Kevin Cannon, Art Gene Ha, Colors Alex Sinclair. This book has so many story lines going on how they will resolve everything in just two more issues is beyond me. My favorite story line was the building that went bad this issue. It look like Dr.Stange’s house, but was very upset as it used to be all by itself and then all of this development had occurred and now it never got any peace and quite. The Precinct is chafing under the new Commissioner and the introduction of Girl Two has flipped out some of the cops of Top Ten.

Sub-Mariner The Depths #3 (of 5) – Writer Peter Milligan, Art Esad Ribic. This book continues to do a great job as Dr. Stein continues his quest to prove Namor and Atlantis is a myth. He is drawn deeper and deeper (no pun intended) into having to accept what for him is unacceptable. The moody painted artwork fits this book to a “T”. This issue they get to an undersea station at the Mariana Trench and find the crew has been murdered and no one is left alive on the station. There was a recording made and we see a winged foot of the apparent attacker. We know he exists, but this is from Dr. Stein point of view and his ability to accept that Namor may exist is what the story is about. This has been a highly entertaining series so far.

Gemini #3 (of 5) – Writer Jay Faerber, Art Jon Sommariva, Colors FCO Plascencia. This series is just a wild and wacky fun series. Gemini is a hero who does not know he is a hero and is controlled by a mysterious corporation. Gemini’s old handler is trying to free him from that corporation and let him learn who he is. The corporation is trying to stop them and called in Dynamo 5 to help. The cartoon like style fits the book and makes the series more light hearted. A different artist could have made this book more serious and I think would have been equally successful, but in a different way. This has been an enjoyable mini-series so far.

Terra #1 (of 4) - Writers Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, Pencils Amanda Conner, Inks Amanda Connor & Jimmy Palmiotti, Colors Paul Mounts. I was all set to read one issue of this series and then cancel it, but this writing team managed to suck me in and I really enjoyed the opening chapter in this book. We meet Terran, who seems to be part of some underground, like miles underground, race of people. See is shown helping to save some insect race from a problem, save some trapped minors and try to clam down some lava race that come up out of a volcano. Finally exhausted, see appears beaten when Power Girl shows up to help her out and takes her to Dr. Midnight. He discovers that she is a perfect genetic match for the old Terra of Teen Titans fame. Fast paced, well set-up and a good hook to end the first issue, I’m sold so far.

Terror Titans #2 (of 6) – Writer Sean McKeever, Pencils Joe Bennett, Inks Jack Jadson, Colors Rod Reis. I’m enjoying this series more then I thought I would. I find that I’m coning to appreciate the Ravager character more and more. She is so conflicted, yet still seems to be on the side of the angels. Clock King asserts himself in gruesome fashion by offing two old board members of the Dark Side Club. We are still waiting to see what the end game if for Clock King and what exactly is Ravager really doing hanging out with this group.

Adventure Comics Special The Guardian– Writer James Robinson, Art Pere Perez, Colors David Baron. This book was a pleasant surprise. I guess I came in with no expectations and what I got was an origin story of the current charter that will be carrying the name of The Guardian. The vast majority of the story is a narration by him, as the Guardian tells Jimmy Olsen about his life and what he learned about the government’s plans to kill Superman. The actual timing of this took place within the Jimmy Olsen special but was just never shown. Now the Guardian has come out of hiding and headed back to Metropolis just as all a large group of Kryptonians is flying into the city.

Trinity #23 – Front Story Writer Kurt Busiek, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Pete Pantazis, Back-Up Writers Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza, Art Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher, Colors Allen Passalaqua. This issue we see the new world is unraveling small bits at a time. Ragman and Tatters are Gotham’s Guardians were they weren’t before; Tomorrow Woman is Metropolis’ defender and has a secret identity where she did not before. The JSI is starting to see it happen and is wondering what is wrong with the world. The end shows us Morgana and Enigma turning Paris into a hellish version of itself. The back up story sees John Stewart fighting what appears to be a losing battle with the techno organic virus. We also catch up to Kanjar Ro and learn how he ended up pretending to be Despero. We are almost at the halfway point and I think I will have to rate Trinity as an entertaining comic, but so far not a strong enough story to be a weekly series.
Station #4 (of 4) – Writer Johanna Stokes, Art Leno Carvalho, Colors Andrea Barreto. Well in a closed room murder mystery, it has to be solved and this issue it is solved. We find out scientific jealously was the cause of all of it, but the murderer redeems herself a little by helping two survivors escape to the shuttle. They decide to tell everyone it was accident so the space program does not get hurt. All in all a very good story, but one complaint is this issue the artwork felt rushed and looser then before.

Jonah Hex #37 – Writers Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, Art Jordi Bernet, Colors Rob Schwager. This was almost a fluff piece for a Jonah Hex story. Jonah has captured some bad guys and turning them in for the bounty. They escape and three women from a Wild West show decide to capture them for the money. Two go after the crooks and another entertains Jonah in bed to keep him away. The story ends without Jonah actually catching these guys, but he instead gives the money they stole to a man he befriended earlier in the story (as his family is in dire straits). It did not feel exactly like the way Jonah would be, but with the art by Jordi Bernet it was a fun tale.

High Rollers #4 (pf 4) – Writer Gary Phillips, Art Sergio Carrera, Colors Andrew Dalhouse. This urban crime drama wrapped up with CQ holding off an attempt to over throw him from being the head of the criminal empire. Where the story itself fell down is that this felt like it ended in the middle of the story and we did not get resolution on a lot of the plot lines. I understand it maybe setting up as a series of mini-series, but this left you feeling like the story was cut off as opposed to wanting to see more about CQ.

Vixen Return of the Lion #2 (of 5) – Writer G. Willow Wilson, Art Cafu, Colors Santiago Arcas. Pretty much a nothing issue as Vixen escapes from the bad guy but is severely hurt. She travels in the country and has flashbacks, fights off some wolves and is rescued by a monk in the middle of Africa. There was an interesting bit to show she decides to live or die on her own and does not call the JLA to save the day, but the JLA may come in to see what happened to her anyway. Often in mini-series like this the fact that other heroes or you may be affiliated with a group is just forgotten, but not here.

Authority #4 - Writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Artist Simon Coleby, Colors Carrie Strachan. So the world has been destroyed and yet things appear to be getting worse for the Authority. Inside the carrier a Warhol outbreak has started, which apparently turns humans into big ugly monsters. Swift was tracking some sort of spy gismo and is captured by some group that appears to be benevolent, but is obviously a group of malevolent people putting on the Ritz. Still no sign of the Doctor or Jenny Quark, but I’m enjoying seeing the Authority with their backs against the wall, as their power levels were so high it seemed nothing was a real threat to them before. There is the four page back-up, but I don’t care about it all.

Zombie Tales #7 – Stories Karl Kesel, Shane Oakley, Jon Schnepp, Art Jesse Hamm, Paul Harrison-Davies, Jon Schnepp. Three short Zombie Tales. Lucky Dog was okay, but the dog and owner turned into Zombies almost immediately. Etc was a fun story showing how you even had Zombie Dinosaurs. The last one felt more like a complaint or something about cigarettes, then Zombies.

El Diablo #3 (of 6) – Writer Jain Nitz, Pencils Phil Hester, Inks Ande Parks, Colors Guy Major. This is a mediocre series that I continue to get because I liked the old El Diablo Lazarus, but he gets killed this issue. The story itself has been the main problem as it has engaged me and therefore I have lost track of this fairly large cast of characters for a six issue mini-series. Still after going in halfway I will ride on to issue #4. Personally I would have preferred to see a new story on the original character set in the old west.

Adam Legend of the Blue Marvel #1 (of 6) – Another hero with Superman type levels of power that showed up in the sixties, but President Kennedy asked him to go in hiding because he was black. I’m tired of retro-cons like this and certainly not worth $4 a book – cancelled.

That wraps up another week and I willing to bet that enough of you did not go out and buy Gigantic and that is my pick this week for the book that more of you need to be buying. This book was a lot of fun and madness, well written and very good art.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.